The campaign to win Independence for Scotland has formally begun. Last Friday saw the launch of this new campaign - Yes Scotland. Since the referendum is more than two years away, this was a fairly low key event. Only two of the speakers were active politicians, Alex Salmond from the SNP and Patrick Harvie from the Greens. This is important for a successful outcome. Though the SNP are clearly the main party campaigning for independence, they are not the only party. The Greens in particular could have a very significant role to play in convincing enough Scots to vote Yes. It is also clear that though the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem parties will remain staunchly anti independence, this is not true of all of their voters. So the Yes, Scotland campaign needs to appeal to as wide a range of people as possible.
Independence is not something to decide on lightly. It is not just for today, but for the long, long term. Therefore we need people to think carefully about what independence might mean - for them, their families and for future generations. Which is one of the many very good reasons for the two year timescale before the referendum. A majority of Scots need to be convinced that independence is the best option for Scotland. Preferably as large a majority as possible. Already commentators and bloggers are advancing their particular reasons for voting Yes to Independence. You can find a couple here and here. Gerry Hassan has also chipped in with a more considered list here.
Now I don’t want to demean any of these reasons, some of them I agree with myself. However they do seem to miss the fundamental reason for wanting independence. Independence will not in itself bring about any of the wish lists mentioned above, nor those of anybody else. What independence will do is ensure that it is us the people living in Scotland who get to decide what policies to pursue, for good or bad. You either trust us - the people living in Scotland in all our diversity - or you don’t. It’s pretty simple really. Who should decide on the key issues affecting Scotland - the people who live here or people living elsewhere in the UK? I am clearly with the Yes, Scotland campaign and this simple statement - The people who live in Scotland are best placed to make the decisions that affect Scotland. I would urge all my fellow citizens living in Scotland to join in the Yes, Scotland campaign. Go to their website here, and sign the declaration.